Monday, June 25, 2012

Great launch for CDWNM with "Writing on Tap"

Brenda Bufalino

Derick K. Grant
Bufalino with Michelle Dorrance

All photos (c)2012, Eva Yaa Asantewaa

I kept wanting someone to pinch me. Was I really in a studio with Brenda Bufalino, Derick K. Grant and Michelle Dorrance? See the photos above for evidence that this wasn't just a dream.

And after this intrepid trio--plus tap historian/author Constance Valis Hill and renowned pianist/arranger Frank Owens--schooled a congenial group of dance writers, tap dancers, other kinds of dancers and tap fans about issues in the journalistic coverage of tap, they quickly broke out their tap shoes and showed us why us writers really need to step up our game.

I guess when you spend a few months focusing on the minutiae of an event--in this case, a collaboration between Tony Waag's venerable American Tap Dance Foundation and my new Collective for Dance Writing and New Media--it's easy to lose sight of the larger picture. This, ladies and gentlemen, turned out to be a momentous occasion.

And not just because of our stellar guests and their dancing.

Writing on Tap succeeded because it offered a place for writers and artists to meet, share information and learn from one another in an atmosphere of respect and fun. Tap dancers have many grievances with dance critics--everything from our lack of expertise in music (after all, tap dancers are musicians) to our inability to recognize tap-historical allusions in contemporary tap choreography to just plain indifference to the form and dismissal of it as an art. The tap field hasn't had the cohesion necessary to act in its own behalf and, if necessary, raise a ruckus. But what we saw on Saturday afternoon was the beginning of an important dialogue that could make a difference--particularly in the future work of today's up-and-coming dance writers.

More and more, I want to facilitate and participate in spaces like this one and efforts like this.

And that's a good thing, since our host, our guests and our participants are all clamoring for more of them.

So Collective for Dance Writing and New Media will find a way to keep them coming. Keep in touch with us through our site. Like us on Facebook, follow @CollectiveDWNM on Twitter and put us in your Google+ circles. In coming months, we will be inviting you to get involved in our activities and help this organization grow and do more excellent work.

We hope you'll join us!

Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Member, Executive Committee
Collective for Dance Writing and New Media

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